Saturday, August 16, 2014

Space Western Comics Two Step - A Warriors Of The Red Planet Rpg - Actual Campaign Play Event & Free Download

You can read the first issue

I just got back from a crazy old school D&D style mash up game, I was roped into DM something completely different. A pulp fueled D&D retroclone  style Warriors of The Red Planet rpg campaign adventure set using the old Charlton comic Space Western comics title as the base. Space Westerns comics are PD material.
Basically,the PC's were part of Spurs and his Space Vigilantes organization which has strong governmental ties. After the 'Barsoomian' Resettlement and Reorganization act of 1950, the Earth has had a very uneasy time with Mars. Martian races have been resettled on Earth blending into the background of the South West and as Mars has become a sort of post Colonial colony world. There have been acts of war and terrorism against Earth even as the Martians try and cope with Earth.
The players are a mix of Earth cowboys, Martian PC fighting men, Martian scientists, and two government agents acting as liaisons with the U.S. government.
The PC's foiled a heinous Martian plot to blow up Mount Rushmore and rescued a Martian princess.
 The PC's had to deal with a nasty horror hidden in the cargo hold of a the Martian saucer inspired by a Clark Aston Smith Mars story with a healthy dose of HP Lovecraft thrown in. Now its off to Mars to return her to her family. Part I is done

Space Western

They don't come any more classic or cheesy then Space Western Comics. From the briefest spark of creative madness from 1952 -53 within the pages  Chartlon comics, these were a grand experiment.
According to the Comic Book Collecting Association article which has an excellent breakdown of the comic book's 'plot':
The “plot” and “story” were at best thin, and were at some times so bad that they were good.  Take, for instance, the story of “The Saucer Men” from Space Western Comics #40 (issue 1) which first introduced these characters.  Spurs is minding his own business when his attention is drawn to a flying saucer landing in the Arizona desert.  Sauntering over to the spaceship as figures emerge, Spurs says, “Well, well don’t tell me.  You are from Mars”.  To which the leader of the spaceship snappily replies, “Naturally we are from Mars”.  Informed by the Martian leader, Korok, that he wishes Spurs and his men to accompany him back to Mars to prove that they had visited Earth,  Spurs is given one “zuba” to pack (which  packing includes a plutonium gun capable of shooting minature atom bombs).  Well, as it turns out, Korok is a bad guy whose return with the earthmen  supports his claim that he has conquered earth, thus triggering the overthrow of Queen Thula.  Spurs and the boys make short work of Kurok and his henchman and have Queen Thula returned to her throne in no time (two pages to be exact).  A grateful queen appoints Spurs the prime minister of Mars, to which Spurs remarks, “This could only happen on Mars.”

    However, so this title could continue, by the second story Queen Thula releases Spurs from this position so he can be ready to meet all future threats to the earth.  These include the threat of Vodor and “The Green Men of Venus” (issue #41) who disguise themselves as cactus (yes, cactus), “The Sun Masters” who attempt to drain the sun of its energy (Spurs, as he shoots an alien sentry who points a ray-gun at Spurs, remarks, “Skip it buster.  I don’t wear these six-guns just to hold my belt down.”), various rematches with Korok and Vodor who join forces to defeat Spurs, including shooting missles which contain moon borers from the moon to the earth,  “Menace of the Meteor Men”,  “Battle of Spaceman’s Gulch”  with the Artopods from Neptune (who are defeated by members of the local science fiction club with mosquito spray) and other equally heart-stopping conflicts.  But it is, perhaps, with “Trip to Mercury”  (issue #43), wherein Strong Bow flys to Mercury in a rocketship contained in an Aztec Temple, fights ancient Aztec warriors and rescues a princess thought dead for 400 years, that it is realized that this is no end to these multi-genre stories.   The very next issue contains a story that has to be the best of the best, the worst of the worst.  It is a story that could not be contained in just one issue.  In issue #44 is the beginning of the two-part story, “Madman of Mars”.  This is a story that has cowboys fighting Nazi soldiers on Mars- A hydrogen bomb rocket destroys Paris, soon to be followed by other rockets that destroy Moscow, Honolulu and New York.  It is up to Spurs Jackson and his Space Vigilantes to put an end to this nightmare.  They track the source of the rockets to Mars, where they are attacked by Nazi soldiers.  We learn that in the closing moments of World War II  the “leader” and nine of his followers escaped in a rocket ship to Mars, where they have been planning their revenge to destroy their enemies.  In a swift and deadly fight, Spurs and the boys are able to overcome these Nazi devils and to destory the rocket launch area.  However, they are too late to capture the “leader” and the last two of his men.

    Undaunted by the 900,000 mile lead the Nazis have, Spurs relentlessly pursues, in issue #45,  “the greatest living menaces to decent mankind the world has ever known”.  Yes, boys and girls, Spurs is hot on the heels of Adolph Hitler!  Hitler crashes his rocketship on an inhabited asteroid.   Blaming his companion Richter for the crash, Hitler shoots him and leaves him for dead.  Hitler  takes over the asteroid from its “simple people”  when Spurs shows up.  A deadly impasse ensues between Spurs and Hitler, which is broken when the severely wounded Richter appears and puts a final end to Hitler.

There is a ton of information right over HERE 

Using Space Western Comics 

As Fodder For Warriors of The Red Planet 

I've been thinking about this idea for the past couple of weeks and with little time to spare. I quickly patched this one together using Labryth Lord, WoRP, and lots of retroclone glue. The idea is fairly simple and seems stupid until I mentioned one movie that brought it all home to the players, Buckroo Banzai Across The Eight Dimension. While there is an rpg out there I don't have access to it at the moment. I liked the idea of the PC's being pulp heroes in the mold of ERB's. 

Within the introduction of Warriors of The Red Planet's Beta edition's rule set, the author's hope that this will be the DM's go to game for weird adventures. Given the amount of  Wild Western background injected into the various pulp and comic book sources for Mars. Spurs and his Space Vigilantes were an easy sell. 
The comic takes place in the 1950's when the Colonial period of Mars is starting to come to a close. Had a blast with this game today. 
Don't forget to grab a Beta copy of  Warriors of The Red Planet
Warriors of the Red Planet
Grab It Right


  1. Wow. Space Western. Charlton was ahead of its time.

  2. I don't know if they were ahead of their time or if it was sheer insanity but Charlton comics has provided me with a whole lot of enjoyment over the years at the rpg table. They're a pretty solid stable of weirdness that I dip into from time to time. Lots of fun was had the other night. Thanks for the comments and more coming up.


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